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Waldorf Microwave XT
Old 1st June 2017
  #1
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Waldorf Microwave XT

Hi. If I'm aiming for a digital sound, how would you rate the Microwave XT? Compared to Microwave 1, it has digital filters that sound pretty good imo. How flexible is the sound design/programming today? If I enjoy programming and experimenting and am after wide range of possibilities, what other digital or analog hardware synthesizer would you recommend? Thank you.
Old 1st June 2017
  #2
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namnibor's Avatar
The Microwave XT is unashamedly digital but can sound remarkable warm with programming.

However, even the 10 voice XT is about half of what the forthcoming Waldorf Quantum will cost and it's a digital/analog hybrid, which will give you best of digital and analog where it counts, the filters.

I will never sell my Microwave XT because it's one of the best digital sound programming playgrounds in my experience thus far. Only the Waldorf Q comes even close to that as well as Waldorf Nave.

If you are shopping for a used XT, do not be put-off about 10 voices because a little bit of this digital monster goes a long way with other synths.

Another alternative, providing you have an iPad or the VST version of Waldorf Nave. Fabulous synth. Matter-in-fact, if my XT were to be stolen or burst into flames I would just put all my efforts into Nave instead because it's that good and had I not already had the XT when Nave was released, I probably would not have bought the XT.

Hope that helps.
Old 1st June 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namnibor View Post
The Microwave XT is unashamedly digital but can sound remarkable warm with programming.

However, even the 10 voice XT is about half of what the forthcoming Waldorf Quantum will cost and it's a digital/analog hybrid, which will give you best of digital and analog where it counts, the filters.

I will never sell my Microwave XT because it's one of the best digital sound programming playgrounds in my experience thus far. Only the Waldorf Q comes even close to that as well as Waldorf Nave.

If you are shopping for a used XT, do not be put-off about 10 voices because a little bit of this digital monster goes a long way with other synths.

Another alternative, providing you have an iPad or the VST version of Waldorf Nave. Fabulous synth. Matter-in-fact, if my XT were to be stolen or burst into flames I would just put all my efforts into Nave instead because it's that good and had I not already had the XT when Nave was released, I probably would not have bought the XT.

Hope that helps.
I've found a 2nd hand XT for 565 Dolars/503 Euros. I'm not sure if it's 10 voices or 30. I will ask the seller if I get serious. I didn't know there where 2 different XT's. It's been great help. Thank you.
Old 1st June 2017
  #4
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namnibor's Avatar
There is NOT two different Microwave XT's unless you are counting the XTk, the keyboard version of the XT. (well, there's also the Microwave 2...the less knobby version)

I was speaking of Waldorf's newer App called NAVE and also Waldorf's forthcoming new synth called Quantum. Hope that's clear.

BTW- That price is at least 1/2 of what the actual going price for used Microwave XT on ebay or reverb of the 10 voice. I'd make sure all is okay with it but would jump on that deal of a price if you can swing it.
Old 1st June 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namnibor View Post
There is NOT two different Microwave XT's unless you are counting the XTk, the keyboard version of the XT. (well, there's also the Microwave 2...the less knobby version)

I was speaking of Waldorf's newer App called NAVE and also Waldorf's forthcoming new synth called Quantum. Hope that's clear.

BTW- That price is at least 1/2 of what the actual going price for used Microwave XT on ebay or reverb of the 10 voice. I'd make sure all is okay with it but would jump on that deal of a price if you can swing it.
No, sorry I meant the 10 voice vs the 30 voice.

I wish I could buy the Quantum but seems like that will be off my budget for now.

Edit: The 30 voice seems to be an upgrade.

Last edited by TNC; 1st June 2017 at 01:46 PM.. Reason: Edit: The 30 voice seems to be an upgrade.
Old 1st June 2017
  #6
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I'd wait until you can try the new Waldorf.
Old 1st June 2017
  #7
$500 range is a very nice price for regular XT, as prices in US seem to have gone way up for all waldorfs.

also, if you can find a 30v bersion under a grand - grab it. its not mandatory to have extra voices, but is nice if you like long ambient releases for chord overlaps, or if you plan to drive more than one or two parts out of the XT.

alternatives? Very few that combine depth and nice knob ladden user interface. Virus B is one i suppose. there are other interesting ones but you will need ipad editor to wrestle their deep synthesis: yamaha tg77 and tx802, kurzweils etc
Old 1st June 2017
  #8
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BTByrd's Avatar
That's an excellent price on the XT.

Also consider the MWII. The XT looks like its much more knobby and friendly to program, but the benefits are marginal because you're still wedded to the Waldorf matrix-style editing/interface. I much prefer to edit the XT from the monstrumWave software... in fact, I never edit mine from the front panel anymore. My experience would be exactly the same as using a later-model MWII (the later MWIIs have the same board/effects as the XT).
Old 1st June 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
$500 range is a very nice price for regular XT, as prices in US seem to have gone way up for all waldorfs.

also, if you can find a 30v bersion under a grand - grab it. its not mandatory to have extra voices, but is nice if you like long ambient releases for chord overlaps, or if you plan to drive more than one or two parts out of the XT.

alternatives? Very few that combine depth and nice knob ladden user interface. Virus B is one i suppose. there are other interesting ones but you will need ipad editor to wrestle their deep synthesis: yamaha tg77 and tx802, kurzweils etc
Those Yamahas look quite interesting.
Old 1st June 2017
  #10
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namnibor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTByrd View Post
That's an excellent price on the XT.

Also consider the MWII. The XT looks like its much more knobby and friendly to program, but the benefits are marginal because you're still wedded to the Waldorf matrix-style editing/interface. I much prefer to edit the XT from the monstrumWave software... in fact, I never edit mine from the front panel anymore. My experience would be exactly the same as using a later-model MWII (the later MWIIs have the same board/effects as the XT).
The MWXT's 44 encoders make a world of difference, not everyone uses or wants to use an editor when you have all those controls. I also find the matrix grid programming very intuitive, but that's how that goes because I do not find anything by Elektron even remotely intuitive.
Old 1st June 2017
  #11
Oli
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Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
I've found a 2nd hand XT for 565 Dolars/503 Euros. I'm not sure if it's 10 voices or 30. I will ask the seller if I get serious. I didn't know there where 2 different XT's. It's been great help. Thank you.
Price is great. Programmability is great. Sound is great. You should grab that while you can. If you don't like it, you can make a profit on a sale, but I think you will really like it.

The Monstrum editor is excellent too, and helps to visualise the state of a patch, imo.
Old 1st June 2017
  #12
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Mushy Mushy's Avatar
 

Wow, the one I'm following is 2,500 GBP!!
Old 1st June 2017
  #13
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Hmm... It's even more tempting now. I have a Monomachine and I love it. I was considering buying an analog this time, either a new Minilogue or a 2nd hand Tetra for 495 Dolars/440 Euros. But I can buy the Minilogue later on and the Tetras show up more than the Microwave. Well I can't buy anything at least for another month anyway. More time to decide. (of course if they are not sold until then.)
Old 1st June 2017
  #14
Not sure where you're located, but that's a phenomenal price for an XT. Has to be 10 voice, though (no way you'd get the 30-voice at that price).

If you want a deep and wild playground for digital synthesis, it's an excellent choice. Unbelievably wide timbral range. Plays very nicely with analogs and with newer/cleaner digitals.

As for the interface: my own view is that it's spectacular for sound tweaking, but that for bottom-up programming and sound design, you still need to do a fair amount of "menu-diving." So I guess I agree with both BTByrd and namnibor...
Old 1st June 2017
  #15
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But you don't need to use the software the way you need it with the Tetra, right?
It comes down to preference.
Old 1st June 2017
  #16
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Yeah, you don't need to use software to access all functions.
Old 1st June 2017
  #17
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Cool. Thank you.
Old 1st June 2017
  #18
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lovekrafty's Avatar
I own both an XTK and a Microwave 1
I do have to say I pretty much never use the XTK
Since acquiring the Microwave 1
Even though the XTK is much easier to use I just prefer
How the analog stage of the Microwave effects the sound
It cuts through more IMO
Old 2nd June 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
I own both an XTK and a Microwave 1
I do have to say I pretty much never use the XTK
Since acquiring the Microwave 1
Even though the XTK is much easier to use I just prefer
How the analog stage of the Microwave effects the sound
It cuts through more IMO
I like the idea of digital filters on a digital sounding synth, you know.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #20
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lovekrafty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
I like the idea of digital filters on a digital sounding synth, you know.
Understood, but for the most part the XT is simulating analog filters
not saying the XT sounds bad just giving you my opinion.
I actually prefer the filters on the XT over the Q which I used to own.

its still a very characterful and unique synth, that's why I hold onto mine
I just use the Microwave one more for that Waldorf sound.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
Understood, but for the most part the XT is simulating analog filters
not saying the XT sounds bad just giving you my opinion.
I actually prefer the filters on the XT over the Q which I used to own.

its still a very characterful and unique synth, that's why I hold onto mine
I just use the Microwave one more for that Waldorf sound.
I'm really curious know, what synths can you give an example of that have digital filters that don't emulate analog? The only one I can think of is the Wavestation. But I totally understand your point. Why have filters that emulate analog when you have the real thing?
What do you think about the Quantum's sound so far from the demos?
Old 2nd June 2017
  #22
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namnibor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
I'm really curious know, what synths can you give an example of that have digital filters that don't emulate analog? The only one I can think of is the Wavestation. But I totally understand your point. Why have filters that emulate analog when you have the real thing?
What do you think about the Quantum's sound so far from the demos?
You have to understand that at that time of 1999-2001, give or take a few years back/forward, we were in a "DIGITAL Renaissance" period after analog...and analog stuff became dirt cheap like junk store cheap, so of course, the digital filters of all companies were developing even more analog sounding emulations.
Each emulation has it's distinct flavor. Access Virus is definitely different from Waldorf Microwave XT or Q, and equally far in flavor from Korg, Roland, or even Yamaha digital emulations.
These synths are now considered kind of "vintage" now that we have the pendulum swinging polar opposite way now with a new analog renaissance.

Just wait for it, the digital renaissance is not far off in the horizon. Buy the XT now and sell for 5X that amount in future.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #23
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daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
Hi. If I'm aiming for a digital sound, how would you rate the Microwave XT? Compared to Microwave 1, it has digital filters that sound pretty good imo. How flexible is the sound design/programming today? If I enjoy programming and experimenting and am after wide range of possibilities, what other digital or analog hardware synthesizer would you recommend? Thank you.
If you're looking for that specific sound, without the use of analog filters, you've really only got three Waldorf-packaged options (2u microWAVE II / 5u XT with more knobs / XTk four-octave keyboard), though it's important to note that there are some wavetables missing from the PPG, etc. that you'd need to load into the user slots, if you feel that those are necessary.

And yeahโ€“I sold my XT for a profit....
Old 2nd June 2017
  #24
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lovekrafty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviddever View Post
If you're looking for that specific sound, without the use of analog filters, you've really only got three Waldorf-packaged options (2u microWAVE II / 5u XT with more knobs / XTk four-octave keyboard), though it's important to note that there are some wavetables missing from the PPG, etc. that you'd need to load into the user slots, if you feel that those are necessary.

And yeahโ€“I sold my XT for a profit....
Well you also have the Q and the Blofeld
Old 2nd June 2017
  #25
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daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
Well you also have the Q and the Blofeld
Nah, these are not the same; while the filter models may be the same / similar / derived, and the sound engine same / similar / derived, they most certainly do not sound like the II/XT range (I've owned II/XT + Q/microQ + Blofeld desktop/keys).

In fact: if I had to call out a specific model for desirability, it'd be the XTk-30 voice model.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #26
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Gnalvl's Avatar
 

Personally I prefer the sound of the MW1. It's hard to quantify, aside from the filters sounding better, there's something else to it which has a little more presence, whereas I tend to find the sound of the 2/XT a little underwhelming by comparison. There is a pretty good A/B here:



IMO the XT's knobs are also a little overrated; XT fans act like it's impossible to edit the other MW's, but in reality there's lots of 3rd party control options. I use a pair of Novation Remotes with my MW1 so I have knob-per-function access to all the same parameters as the XT. It's a little extra work to set up, but worth it if you prefer the MW1 sound. As BTByrd mentioned, you still have to menu dive a fair amount to access certain functions on the XT, so the control difference from an MW1 or MW2 operated from 3rd party controllers is minimal.

That being said, the 500 euro price is so good, it's kind of a no-brainer. You should just get it to try it and see if you like it. If you like it, then you got a great price, if not you can make a profit and look into getting something else.

An alternative worth considering is the Ambika. It's a DIY synth which was discontinued, but people are still building them to order at decent prices. It's got a very similar wavetable sound to the MW series, and there's 4-5 different analog filters available for it, including a juno clone, sfv clone, polyvoks clone, and more. Ultimately the MW1 sounds better IMO, but I keep both because the Ambika still has enough of a unique tone and some features the MW1 lacks, that I find it complimentary to the Microwaves.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #27
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
I'm really curious know, what synths can you give an example of that have digital filters that don't emulate analog?
The Waldorf XT?

I mean, the filters were and are not touted as being analogue emulations of a given circuit, they were just filters because you need those in the most ubiquitous kinds of synthesis.

They do of course work according to the same principles that analogue filters do (removing certain frequencies from the original signal) but - they are just digital filters with different slope and resonance characteristics.

They are not emulations of actual analogue circuitry.

So in that sense the XT really embraces the digital sound in a way that few synths have done before or after.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #28
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I prefer the blofeld to any of the microwave II series. Each does some things that the other doesn't but there is nothing about the microwave II that really puts it above the blofeld. I can understand an XT for the knobs (but still not worth it for their price), but I would certainly not pay 2x for a microwave 2 rack.
Old 2nd June 2017
  #29
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zerocrossing's Avatar
My main issue with the XT is that the 8 bit wavetables don't always work for my taste. 80% of the time I like a more hi-fi sound, like you can get from the Blofeld. During the time of the XT, I ended up with an Ensoniq TS-10, which I don't regret. The TS-10 isn't as fun to edit, but the Ensoniq way of hot buttons is good. The Ambika suffers from that same digital harshness that I like sometimes, but I like it more when it's an option.

These days I mostly use software tools (must pick up Nave one of these days...) but I couldn't help myself when the MicroMonsta came out. A ton of synth for the money and it sounds great to me. Not the knobbiest, but a very good interface.

Another digital synth I'm after is the NF-1. VERY digital sounding, but there's something about the character that really appeals to me. Check it out.

I'm also on the fence about the Novation Peak. The oscillators are maybe a bit too polished to me, but the filters and distortion stages sound great. I've not yet really heard a demo of it that got me super excited. My favorite sounds from it are similar to things I'm already getting from the Bass Station 2. (Though no polyphony, obviously)
Old 2nd June 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
The Waldorf XT?

I mean, the filters were and are not touted as being analogue emulations of a given circuit, they were just filters because you need those in the most ubiquitous kinds of synthesis.

They do of course work according to the same principles that analogue filters do (removing certain frequencies from the original signal) but - they are just digital filters with different slope and resonance characteristics.

They are not emulations of actual analogue circuitry.

So in that sense the XT really embraces the digital sound in a way that few synths have done before or after.
Yes, that's what I meant. Not analog modeling.
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